Beacon Journal staff report
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Thursday he is pushing for the statewide regulation of Internet cafes, sweepstakes parlors and skill-based arcades.
''Internet cafes and sweepstakes that are skirting the law are growing in many of our communities,'' he said in a prepared statement. ''By establishing oversight of these previously unregulated games, law enforcement, consumers and charities can all operate in a more fair environment.''
Under DeWine's proposed legislation — revealed at a news conference Thursday morning — skill-based and sweepstakes machine owners would:
• Undergo a pre-play certification process.
• Obtain a license issued by the Casino Control Commission and paid for by the applicant that certifies that the machines have been tested by an outside laboratory.
• Post stickers on each machine providing an instant verifiable sign to law enforcement and proving that the operator has a license.
• Face criminal penalties for violating the licensing requirements.
The electronic games look like slot machines and can mislead players and cause confusion for law enforcement, DeWine's office said.
State Reps. Nan Baker, R-Westlake, and Marlene Anielski, R-Walton Hills, will sponsor the legislation.
''As attorney general, I am working to protect Ohio families and ensure that our state doesn't turn into the Wild Wild West with unregulated operators taking advantage of Ohioans,'' DeWine said. ''This new system will provide transparency and accountability in an industry that currently reaps millions of dollars in profits.''
JoAnn Davidson, chairwoman of the Casino Control Commission, joined DeWine for the announcement. Under the proposal, the commission would help oversee and enforce the regulations.